The Circle by Dave Eggers (review by Andrew R. ’17)

The CircleThe Circle by Dave Eggers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Privacy in social media and on the Internet is a hot topic these days—the perfect target for some biting satire and not-so-futuristic science fiction. That’s what Dave Eggers is going for in The Circle, at least. He achieves those ends without offering much in the way of plot complexity or meaningful commentary. The storyline follows Mae Holland as she works her way up the corporate ladder of the Circle—a Silicon Valley super-corporation that seems to hold a monopoly over all the social media, scientific research, and Internet services. The section of the narrative where Mae relinquishes all her privacy to improve her standing in the company is chilling, but its impact is lessened by Eggers’s lack of subtlety in exposing the corporation’s tyranny: when the Circle’s executives make SECRETS ARE LIES, SHARING IS CARING, PRIVACY IS THEFT the new company motto, for instance, it’s hard to think of the campus as anything less than a malicious, 1984-like surveillance state. The Circle would have made a potent commentary on one of today’s most-discussed issues if it had spent more time on an intricate plot and less on too-obvious catchphrases and images of corruption. – Andrew R. ’17

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